Best Albums of the 2010s – #6
Lemonade – Beyoncé (2016)
Beyoncé’s Lemonade is more than a great collection of songs (though it is that). It is a personal and political statement, at once deeply confessional and universally deep. It is also a “visual album” that links its tracks with spoken-word poetry and mesmerizing visuals.
It’s a project only an artist with the confidence and swagger of Beyoncé could pull off. And pull it off she does, beautifully.
‘All Night’ is the penultimate track on Beyoncé’s extraordinary 2016 “visual album” Lemonade. The early single ‘Formation’ closes things out, but this track is the emotional resolution, and on of the album’s best songs.
Much was made of the anger on Lemonade‘s early tracks (“he better call Becky with the good hair”), and people initially thought the album might even be Beyoncé’s very public way of leaving Jay-Z.
Beyoncé dropped a surprise album and Netflix film documenting her historic performance at 2018’s Coachella festival.
Beyoncé was the first Black woman to headline that event, and she delivered an instantly iconic show that utilized marching bands from historically black colleges and universities to deliver a celebration of Black culture.
Somewhere Tom Petty is slamming his fist against a table and crying out, “Why did I have to draw Beyoncé in the first round?!”
Mrs. Carter rules pop culture right now, musically, socially and politically, while Petty is a deeply respected classic rock dinosaur. Is it even a fair fight?
Here’s why Chloe + Halle are more interesting than thousands of other singing YouTubers. A few years back, when they were 13 and 16, they posted this cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Pretty Hurts.’ And it caught the attention of Queen Bey herself.
This week is dedicated to the inspiring tale of Chloe x Halle, a singing sister duo from Atlanta. They’ve been posting YouTube videos since 2008, when they were 10 and 8, respectively.
I’m skipping ahead 8 years from those days to a couple of covers the sisters posted in 2016, at the ripe old ages of 16 and 18.
Beyoncé’s Lemonade has been declared the album of the year by unanimous decree. I don’t think I read a single top ten list that didn’t put the “visual album” at the top, and with good reason.
Nobody else has the power to bend popular culture to her whim the way Beyoncé does. Adele and Taylor Swift might sell more albums, but they don’t inspire hundreds of political and cultural think pieces. They don’t spark protests on both sides of hot button issues.